Diabetes & You

The Utah Diabetes and Endocrinology Center (UDEC) provides individualized medical care with thorough management of blood glucose, the latest diagnostic services, and multidisciplinary services for management of diabetes and its complications. Our providers focus on rigorous glucose, lipid, and blood pressure management ensuring that our patients meet all therapeutic targets or screening tests recommended by national organizations.

Types of Diabetes

Learn more about the different types of diabetes:

Facts About Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that means your body does not make enough insulin. Or it means that your body is not able to use the insulin it makes. Your body needs the hormone insulin to change blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Without insulin, too much glucose collects in your blood. Diabetes may also be a result of other conditions. These include genetic syndromes, chemicals, drugs, pancreatitis, infections, and viruses.

Diabetes can be one of three types: type 1, type 2, or gestational. All three are metabolic disorders that affect the way the body uses (metabolizes) food to make glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

What is prediabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is often preceded by prediabetes. In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. But many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prediabetes also raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. You can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include losing extra weight if you are overweight and getting more exercise. If you are overweight, losing 5% to 10% of your weight can make a difference. For exercise, aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days a week.

How does diabetes affect blood glucose?

Insulin must be present for glucose to be able to move into the cells of the body. Insulin is made by your pancreas. Normally it is readily available to help move glucose into the cells.

When you have diabetes, your pancreas makes too little or no insulin. Or the cells in your body don’t respond to the insulin that’s made. This causes a buildup of glucose in the blood. The cells in your body, meanwhile, are starving for glucose and do not have enough fuel to work as they should.

The 3 main types of diabetes are similar in the buildup of blood glucose because of problems with insulin. But each has a different cause and treatment:

  • Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This means that your body has no or only a small amount of insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day in order to live.

  • Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may need oral medicines or insulin injections.

  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Gestational diabetes happens in pregnant women who have not been diagnosed with diabetes in the past. In a woman with gestational diabetes, her body cannot effectively use the insulin that is present. This type of diabetes goes away after delivery. If it does not go away, it was not gestational diabetes but type 1 or 2 diabetes that started during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and attention to weight gain. Women with this type of diabetes may need to take medicines to control their glucose. They may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Complications of diabetes

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. Experts think that many cases of diabetes are not reported as a condition leading to or causing death. But each year, more than 200,000 deaths are reported as being caused by diabetes or its complications. Complications of diabetes include eye problems and blindness, heart disease, stroke, neurological problems, amputation, and impotence.

Except for gestational diabetes, diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that affects nearly every part of the body. It contributes to other serious diseases and can be life-threatening. Diabetes must be managed under the care of a doctor throughout a person's life. The serious complications of diabetes can be prevented or stopped from progressing with proper care.


Devaprabu Abraham, M.B.B.S.

Dr. Abraham underwent medical schooling in India, and graduated with honors from the University of Madras. He underwent further training in England, where he was awarded the postgraduate degree, MRPC (UK), by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in London. In 1993, he underwent residency training at the University of Utah Medical center. F... Read More

A. Wayne Meikle, M.D.

Dr. Meikle’s major research interests are focused on male reproductive endocrinology, prostatic and thyroid neoplasia and laboratory techniques for hormonal assays. The objective of the studies in male twins has been to determine the influence of hereditary and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of lower urinary tract symptoms and benign pro... Read More


Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Pituitary, Thyroid Disorders


Utah Diabetes Center (801) 581-7761

Amnon Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D.

At the Utah Diabetes and Endocrinology Center and the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dr. Schlegel sees patients with all general endocrine and metabolic disorders. He has particular interest in disorders of lipid metabolism.... Read More


Adrenal Disorders, Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Hypertension, Lipids, Osteoporosis & Metabolic Bone Disease, Pituitary, Thyroid Disorders


Utah Diabetes Center (801) 581-7761
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 582-1565

Debra L. Simmons, M.D., M.S., FACE, FACP

Dr. Debra Lynn Simmons is a professor of medicine at University of Utah and Director of Clinical Affairs, Utah Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. Dr. Simmons is board certified in internal medicine as well as endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. In addition to her medical degree from... Read More

Utah Diabetes & Endocrinology Center

615 Arapeen Drive, Ste. 100
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108
(801) 581-7761